Later this year, Playgirl magazine will feature naked pictures of the "Men of Enron." So many people lost their shirts because of Enron, and now we're getting to see some voluntarily remove theirs. The executives were caught with their pants down, so why not the employees?
I've just got one question: why all the interest in seeing these particular people without their clothes?
In the past, men and women who have been involved in sex scandals have been asked to pose nude. I sort of understand this. People are naturally curious to see what some powerful man or woman was willing to risk his or her future for. But a business scandal? When it comes to erotica, has the boardroom finally replaced the bedroom?
And those who posed aren't even the people responsible for the scandal. In this country, there is a legal tradition of public embarrassment going back to the pillory. So I could understand if some judge decided that Kenneth Lay should appear in public naked as a form of punishment. If CEOs rob so many people of their money and dignity, why not rob them of some of theirs?
But I guess Mr. Lay wasn't available, so the magazines settled for anyone with an Enron connection. I don't get it, but I'm sure they spent time and money researching the project, and determined that working for a company that defrauds its shareholders and the public is sexy.
If this is true, there certainly won't be any shortage of nude models. I assume we will soon be seeing features like, "Andersen Bares Assets," "The Wild Women of WorldCom," and "The Lads of Lucent." There will be a whole new meaning to phrases like "the bottom line" or "companies that go bust."
None of those who posed for the magazines said they did it for revenge or to embarrass Enron. They did it for fun, money, and exposure. Lots of exposure. And as for the money, the women were supposedly paid $15,000 each by Playboy, and the men received an undisclosed amount from Playgirl. It's certainly consistent with the theme of all this that Playgirl refused to disclose the actual amount of money that changed hands. But let's not judge the people who decided to pose nude in exchange for some money. After all, they worked for executives whose entire lives have been motivated by naked greed.
Needless to say, the jackpot, the gold ring, the Holy Grail for skin magazines would be a Martha Stewart pictorial. Even though she hasn't even been charged with anything, let alone found guilty, the level of prurient interest in what she might have done has reached an oxygen-deprived height. Imagine how much she could get for posing nude! Entire forests would be needed to provide the paper for all the magazine copies that would sell. The video version would skyrocket to Number One in a day.
Can't you just picture Martha with nothing on but heels, standing next to a paper shredder? And people would love to see her saying things like, "I sewed this see-through negligee by hand." Photographers would be thrilled to capture her gardening in the all-together as she teaches us how to harvest the freshest vegetables. She'd caution us about safety by saying things like, "When making a flambé, be sure to wear a fire-retardant bra like this one."
But who am I kidding? I wouldn't bet on this actually happening. The odds of Martha posing nude are astronomical. In fact, you could say that it's about as likely as someone calling her CEO/friend and selling a stock the day before it plummets without getting any insider information.
Lloyd Garver has written for many television shows, ranging from "Sesame Street" to "Family Ties" to "Frasier." He has also read many books, some of them in hardcover.
By Lloyd Garver